1. Dust masks. You can buy fancier, more effective ones online or at pharmacies, but I opted for just regular dust masks in a 50-pack for about 5000 CFA. That’s plenty for our family, and enough to share with the guards, as taxi drivers, and others in our little corner of Dakar.
2. Saline spray to keep little (or big) noses clean and healthy. Sterimar comes in several varieties, and can be found easily in Dakar pharmacies. More good news: Sterimar’s ‘sea water’ isn’t sourced from a local beach. Woohoo!
3. Mini hand sanitizer bottles. With every big dust storm also comes a big wave of virus sharing—always respiratory issues but sometimes a fierce stomach bug circulates as well. So anything I can do to make hand-washing and hand sanitizing fun for the kids, I am all in.
4. For moisturizing skin in this dry weather, Dexeryl is a good all-purpose option for the whole family. We also use whipped Shea butter mixed with coconut oil and baobab oil, but Dexeryl is more convenient and easy to pick up at any pharmacy.
5. While at the pharmacy I grabbed the largest Eau Thermale Avène they had on the shelf. That stuff is like a vacation for your face. Spray it on before moisturizing, when you need a little refreshing booster during the day, or when you’re just tired of seeing brown and smelling dust.
6. Not at the pharmacy, but on my way home I stopped by the veggie stand and bought a ‘bouquet’ of fresh mint and lemongrass. Simmering those gently on the stove in a liter of water makes it smell clean and fresh as we are sweeping up piles of dust and sand to send back outside.
7. Finally…water, water, water. Staying hydrated is essential during these dust storms. Fill a large bottle, use an app to track your daily drinking, or just drink 3x what you think you should for the next 3 days. That oughta do it. Another option is to take a gulp every time someone says the word ‘dust’.